Coronavirus (COVID-19) has altered nearly every aspect of the modern workplace. Remote work now constitutes a top option for many companies, even as quarantine measures begin to ease. This approach offers a variety of advantages beyond preventing the spread of the virus. Freed of common workplace distractions, remote employees are often more productive and satisfied than their office-based counterparts.
If there’s a downside to working from afar, it’s the increased potential for security problems. Even in an age of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), a standard office represents a highly controlled environment. While employees can play a considerable role in office-based security breaches, the potential for such issues is significantly reduced when using equipment or networks that are carefully monitored and maintained by the employer. Under a remote setup, however, every additional device or network represents an added risk.
Thankfully, a variety of security options are available to reduce the potential for breaches in the era of remote work. The following are especially effective:
Prepare for More Phishing Attacks
While the basic defense against phishing remains the same during the Coronavirus pandemic, the likelihood of suffering such attacks has increased substantially. Hence, the need for an updated training regimen and regular reminders to keep employees alert.
Instruct employees to avoid downloading emailed attachments. Instead, use a secure platform such as Slack to share documents. Keep in mind that top document sharing and storage options can also be prone to phishing.
Awareness is crucial, of course, but even the most technologically savvy remote workers can fall victim to email phishing attacks. Be sure to implement additional preventative measures, such as anti-virus and anti-malware software. Automatic updates will ensure that such solutions remain effective far into the future.
Encourage Employees to Change Passwords
At a minimum, work passwords should be changed every few months. In addition to regularly altering passwords for their work email accounts, employees should pursue similar changes for their home Wi-Fi networks. Additional adjustments may prove necessary for computers, cell phones, and other devices – especially if they’re shared with spouses, children, or roommates.
In addition to using new passwords, employees should take advantage of multi-factor authentication whenever it’s available. While this can take many forms, it often involves numerical codes sent to the employee’s phone. When logging into an account, they must input this code alongside the username and password.
Increase VPN Availability
A virtual private network (VPN) can make all the difference for remote workplace security. This essential acts as a tunnel for network traffic, thereby reducing the potential for malicious activity. The right VPN can play a key role in establishing a layered security strategy, and while
free VPNs may be tempting during a time of economic uncertainty, paid services are far more reliable. A variety of options are available to provide quality service regardless of your budget.
The most secure VPNs offer multi-factor authentication, endpoint security, and access control. Additionally, VPNs should be equipped to prevent address leaks, which are more prevalent for some providers than others.
Keep in mind that, while VPNs can address several security concerns, they also have the potential to increase certain risks. This is especially true given their recent Coronavirus-related surge in use, as malicious parties are aware of the potential for exploitation. In many cases, poorly secured VPNs have been removed from app marketplaces. Google, for example, recently removed a VPN app from its Play Store due to its inability to fend off man-in-the-middle attacks.
Utilize Data Backups
A strong data backup strategy is always valuable, but it’s that much more important under a remote setup. In the worst-case scenario, you can take comfort in knowing that you retain access to vital documents.
With a swift backup process, you may avoid the potential for work disruptions. Quality data backups can also reduce vulnerability to ransomware attacks, which often play on fears of losing access for good.
Seek Support from NerdsToGo as You Work or Study from Home
If you anticipate that you or a significant portion of your workforce will continue day-to-day operations on a remote basis for the foreseeable future, it’s worth your while to invest in IT support. The experts at NerdsToGo are happy to assist you every step of the way. We understand your concerns during this difficult time and are committed to providing the guidance you need.
At NerdsToGo, we offer a variety of commercial services for those hoping to work from home. We’re happy to help onsite in your home or business or at one of our locations. From anti-virus software to firewall protection, we know what it takes to keep your data safe as you move forward with a remote work strategy. We also provide valuable assistance for studying from home. In the event of a breach or other problem, you can rely on our remote services for quick mitigation. Contact us today for more information!